You're the Commentator


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hayei Sarah

Isaac and his brother Ishmael were separated when Ishmael's mother Hagar was sent away from the family. When their father Avraham dies, they come together to bury him.

Is there someone in your family you haven't seen or spoken to for a long time? What would help you renew your relationship?

How can you heal relationships that have "gone bad"?
Why might you want to?

Monday, November 7, 2011


In case you didn't see last year's post, click on the label "VaYera" below this post!

This is the portion in which Abraham seems to negotiate with God about the fate of the cities of Sedom and Amorrah.  Will God punish everyone in the city even if there are 50 good people?  45?  40?  35?  30?  20?  10?  That's where Abraham and God finish the conversation.  As you can read, there are not even 10 good people, and the city is destroyed.
  1. Why do you think Abraham had this conversation with God?
  2. Why do you think God was willing to save the city if there were 10 good people, but not fewer than that?
  3. Do you think it's fair to punish good people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?  What if there were 8 good people in the city?
  4. What do you think would have happened to the bad people of Sedom if God had found enough good people to save the city?  Would they have gone without punishment, or do you think they would have been punished eventually?

What do you think?
Be sure to share your answers by commenting on this blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lech Lecha

In this parsha Avram's nephew Lot is captured by enemies. Avram, when he finds out, sets out to free him. This idea of freeing hostages is known in Hebrew as pidyon shevuyim. You can read the story in Breisheet (Genesis) chapter 14 verses 12-16.

Recently there was a return of an Israeli hostage who had been held in Gaza for five years.

How was this return made possible?
Compare this to what Avram did in the verses you read.

Which method seems more appropriate in today's world?
Why do you think so?


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Tower of Babel

Some people think the people who tried to build the Tower of Babel were punished because they were going to do bad things in the future.

Do you think people should be punished for PLANNING bad things?
Explain your answer.

Remember to share your ideas by adding your comments

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Celebrating Sukkot

Ok, Sukkot begins this evening. Either you have built a sukkah at your home or you have not. If not, how can you celebrate the holiday anyway? Here are some thoughts. If you have others, please comment:
Find a sukkah in your neighborhood and eat there (probably your synagogue has one)
Invite company and cook something that is in season now to celebrate the harvest.
Make something special and tell the family - It's Sukkot! Let's celebrate together!

Studying Torah

In a short time we will be starting from the beginning of the cycle of Torah reading. This is probably not the first time you have heard these stories, and hopefully it will not be the last.
Have you ever re-read a book?
Why did you read it again?
What if anything was different about the way you understood the book the second time?
What do you remember about Torah from last year?
What do you expect from this year's reading?

Monday, January 10, 2011


This week's Torah reading brings the Israelites out of Egypt, finally, and through Yam Suf, the Sea of Reeds.  After that miraculous event, you would have thought everyone would have been grateful to God for at least a while.  But according to the very next chapter, chapter 16 of Exodus, that's not what happened:
 2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness; 3 and the children of Israel said to them: 'I wish we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, ...where we at least had enough bread to eat; Instead you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole people with hunger.' 
What were the people complaining about?
Why do you think they were complaining?
Do you think they had a good reason to complain?
What would you have said to them if you were Moses?

Read the rest of the chapter 16  to find out what happened.

Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Explain what you would have done if you had been there.

Imagine you were there and had a Facebook page.  Post an update to your status to tell everyone what has happened to you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


You all know the story - we tell it every year at our Passover seder.   What is your favorite part of the story?  What do you think would have been your favorite part if you were in the story?

Today there are Jews who live in countries where there is a lot of anti-Jewish activity.  Jews living there may feel they have to hide the fact that they are Jewish.  Some of the Jews in these countries choose to leave, while other decide to stay.  It may seem like a simple choice to you, but think about the fact that leaving means going somewhere you don't know anyone, have to go to a new school with no friends, might never see your old home and friends again .  Not so simple after all.

  • Some commentators believe that only a small percentage of the Hebrews living in Egypt left during the Exodus. 
  • Would you have been part of the group that left? 
  • Or would you have stayed in Egypt? 
Explain your answer.